Lord Howell arrived in New Zealand today for two days of discussions following a series of meetings with heads of state at the Pacific Islands Forum in Vanuatu.
Over the course of visit he will meet with New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key and Foreign Minister, Murray McCully to discuss trade and the Commonwealth.
New Zealand is an important trading partner with the UK. In 2009, the annual two-way trade in goods and services between New Zealand and UK was approximately £1.9 billion. More than half of total New Zealand investment in Europe is in the UK and the UK is New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner in two-way trade.
The UK aims to reinvigorate and strengthen the Commonwealth with an increased focus on trade and democratic values. Commonwealth countries are responsible for a fifth of all global trade, as well as almost a third of the world’s population. The potential of the Commonwealth and the work of the recently announced Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group will form a key part of the Minister’s discussions whilst in New Zealand.
The Minister will also meet with former Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Don McKinnon for lunch to share thoughts on the future of the Commonwealth.